Becoming Ellen; Shari Shattuck
G.P Putnam & Sons - 2015
Ellen Homes is a heartwarming character that was first introduced in Invisible Ellen. Ellen is a physically scarred and emotionally wounded young woman who meets a brother and sister who really care about her and who she begins to trust.
Becoming Ellen picks up where the last novel left off, and IMO, you MUST read Invisible Ellen first. Ellen is now living with brother and sister team, Temerity, a blind violinist and her protective but kind brother Justice. As Ellen begins to open herself up emotionally, a bus crash and (2) young children who desperately need a caring adult in their lives opens old wounds to the days Ellen spent in the foster care system herself.
While her physical scars are becoming less noticeable and she's lost some weight, she still continues to work at her night time cleaning crew job at Costco, so that she can keep a low profile and not have to interact with a lot of people. Her work life routines and secret hideouts where she can snoop on conversations of the boss and coworkers make her privy to some surprising illegal activities.
Without giving away too much of the story, I'll just say that I thought this was a decent follow-up to Invisible Ellen, but without reading the first book, this story would fall flat IMO. The first book was all about getting to know Ellen -- the author created a totally believable and endearing character that you wanted to see transform into a happy young adult. The followup is more about how she is coming out of her shell and some antics that she gets caught up in along the way. Some of what happens in this one did not feel realistic, but I still enjoyed spending more time with Ellen, an unforgettable character who is worth getting to know. If you like stories about the underdog - read both of these novels.